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Old 10-03-08, 05:01 AM   #1
scrapmetal
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Passing a bicycle over a double yellow line?

I tried the search and found nothing. My question is, if a car is passing me on a bicycle, and there is 0 oncoming traffic, is he allowed to cross the double yellow line to give me some space? Most cars do and I do it myself too - but yesterday I had this rather unpleasant discussion with one gentleman.
If it matters, it happened in Virginia.
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Old 10-03-08, 05:27 AM   #2
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No problem with me for a car to pass me over a double yellow if sightlines are ok. FWIW I've passed a tractor over a double yellow before on my bicycle...I slowed down and followed it over a narrow bridge with oncoming traffic...as soon as the oncoming traffic cleared I passed it. The cars that were behind me waited for me to pass then passed both the tractor and me when there was enough space to make the double pass, then when the gap was large enough they passed the tractor, then evaluated traffic, then passed me when appropriate.
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Old 10-03-08, 05:46 AM   #3
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Whether it is legal or not will vary depending on your state laws, but I've never talked to a law enforcement officer who would cite someone in the situation you describe.
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Old 10-03-08, 06:00 AM   #4
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In Maine we have a 3' passing law that explicitly states that a motorist may cross the double yellow in order to give a cyclist 3' of clearance when passing. Other states are probably different.
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Old 10-03-08, 06:12 AM   #5
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Yes, I found the Main referral online too, thank you.
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Old 10-03-08, 06:30 AM   #6
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In Ohio, a driver can legally cross the double yellow line under some conditions:

4511.31. Hazardous zones

(A) The department of transportation may determine those portions of any state highway where overtaking and passing other traffic or driving to the left of the center or center line of the roadway would be especially hazardous and may, by appropriate signs or markings on the highway, indicate the beginning and end of such zones.

(B) Division (A) of this section does not apply when all of the following apply:

(1) The slower vehicle is proceeding at less than half the speed of the speed limit applicable to that location.

(2) The faster vehicle is capable of overtaking and passing the slower vehicle without exceeding the speed limit.

(3) There is sufficient clear sight distance to the left of the center or center line of the roadway to meet the overtaking and passing provisions of section 4511.29 of the Revised Code, considering the speed of the slower vehicle.
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Old 10-03-08, 07:09 AM   #7
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No, at least not legally in Arkansas. A solid yellow line on the left side of your traffic lane is the standard road marking in Arkansas for a "no passing" zone.

The Arkansas Driver's License Study Guide (July, 2005 edition, still the current one) is a little fuzzy about the yellow line business, and I find that as a rule, Arkansas motorists never read this stuff after they've passed the age of 16 (14 in my year group) and gotten their driver's license... and they almost universally ignore this thing about solid yellow lines if they feel they may have to slow down a little. But here's what the Study Guide currently says:

Pavement Markings:
Lines and symbols marked on the roadway divide lanes, indicate to a driver when it is safe to pass other vehicles or change lanes, which lanes to use for turns, where a driver must stop for signs or traffic signals, and define pedestrian walkways.

Edge and Lane Lines
Solid lines along the side of the road indicate for the driver where the edge of the road is located. Lines separating lanes of traffic moving in the same direction are white. Lines separating lanes of traffic moving in opposite directions are yellow.
White Lane Markings
A dashed white line between lanes of traffic indicates a driver may cross the line to change lanes if it is safe to do so. A solid white line between lanes of traffic means that a driver should stay within the lane unless a special situation requires the driver to change lanes.
Yellow Lane Markings
A broken yellow line between opposing lanes of traffic indicate a driver may cross to pass if there is no opposing traffic. Where both a solid and broken line exits between opposing lanes, a driver may pass if conditions are safe and there is no opposing traffic. Two solid lines between opposing lanes of traffic indicate neither lanes of traffic may pass. A driver may cross a solid yellow line to turn into a driveway if there is no opposing traffic approaching the planned turn site. (What's missing here is the explanation that it the solid yellow line is on your side of the center dividing line, you can't pass, though traffic from the opposite direction may pass if the line on their side is dashed.)

Other Lane Controls
Shared Center Lane:
Shared center lanes are reserved for making left turns and can be used by vehicles traveling in either direction. Marked on the pavement, left turn arrows for traffic in one direction alternate with left turn arrows for traffic approaching from the opposing direction. These lanes are marked on each side by solid yellow and dashed yellow lines. In Arkansas it is permissible for a vehicle making a left turn from an intersecting street or driveway to utilize a center left turn lane as part of the maneuver to gain access or merge into traffic lanes, except that it is not permissible to use the center left turn lane as an acceleration lane.
Passing: Drivers passing a vehicle traveling in the same direction must yield to that vehicle, even if the vehicle is slowing or coming to a stop, because the vehicle may be about to turn left or may be approaching a hazard the overtaking driver does not see.


As noted, the Arkansas Code and the Driver's Manual aren't real specific about what constitutes a no-passing zone. In cases where the State statutes don't spell it out specifically, the law tells you to go look it up in the manual for uniform traffic control devices adopted by the Highway Commission. So here's what the MUTCD -- and ultimately the Arkansas traffic rules -- have to say about lane marking for "no passing":
http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/PavMkgs/Tu...lines_pass.htm

A BROKEN (dashed) yellow centerline on the left side of a travel lane indicates passing is allowed in that direction.
A SOLID yellow centerline on the left side of a travel lane indicates passing is prohibited in that direction.
A centerline might not be in the physical center of the road.


Sure, cyclists are sometime slower than motor traffic. But if that slow-moving vehicle were a tractor or other farm vehicle, or a horse & buggy, or some little old blue-haired granny lady in her Model A Ford, you'd have to slow and legally pass in just the same way. In another forgotten statute, the law reminds us that speed limits are the maximum allowable safe speed on a particular stretch of roadway, not the minimum speed.

And, of course in Arkansas, if a motorist is passing a cyclist, he has to maintain at least a 3-foot space in passing, per the new 2007 law...

Speed kills. All you have to do is read several of the entries in the Arkansas State Police log for traffic fatalities (http://www.asp.state.ar.us/fatal/ind...inks&year=2008 ) and find that the number one Killer of motorists, cagers and motorcyclists alike, is an inability to stay within their lane lines, for whatever reason.

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Old 10-03-08, 07:31 AM   #8
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The correct answer is it matter which state, The vast majority of states the answer is no it is not legal. But here we have what is called officer discression, It owuld be up the the LEO if he was going to cite for the offense or not. I being a retired LEO, in most cases would not cite the vehicle passing under those conditions. But you also have to look at how and where they pass, as long as it was done sfely then it will usually be allowed by the officer.
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Old 10-03-08, 08:21 AM   #9
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id rather have the motorist cross the double yellow to pass if its clear than crowd me in the lane; however, a lot of double yellows denote limited sight distances or choke points, so sometimes motorists impatiently pass directly into oncoming traffic or blind curves....
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Old 10-03-08, 08:27 AM   #10
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If it's clear I can't see law enforcement caring one whit if you crossed over to safely pass a cyclist. Passing another motorized vehicle would be a different story, 'cept maybe the shoulder hugging tractor and with the load of hay.
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Old 10-03-08, 09:55 AM   #11
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From some reason about 6mo. ago several low volume quiet 25mph posted residential streets had a double yellow added to them (before there were no markings at all) - resulting in narrow lane each way.
The change in motorist passing behavior was very noticeable. Before I could ride in the right tire track 23-25mph and cars just passed smoothly.
Now I sometime find someone who acts as they are stuck behind me - even though there are long sightlines and no issue to pass except the double yellow.
I am still puzzled why the double was added. They were simply not the type of streets that anyone passes another vehicle on except bicycles.

Al
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Old 10-03-08, 10:49 AM   #12
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The real question is why should someone think that involuntary manslaughter is preferable to breaking a minor traffic violation? Whether it's legal or not, anyone with common sense should feel far more comfortable breaking the traffic law. Problem is common sense is not so common after all!
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Old 10-03-08, 10:51 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sd790 View Post
In Ohio, a driver can legally cross the double yellow line under some conditions:

4511.31. Hazardous zones

(A) The department of transportation may determine those portions of any state highway where overtaking and passing other traffic or driving to the left of the center or center line of the roadway would be especially hazardous and may, by appropriate signs or markings on the highway, indicate the beginning and end of such zones.

(B) Division (A) of this section does not apply when all of the following apply:

(1) The slower vehicle is proceeding at less than half the speed of the speed limit applicable to that location.

(2) The faster vehicle is capable of overtaking and passing the slower vehicle without exceeding the speed limit.

(3) There is sufficient clear sight distance to the left of the center or center line of the roadway to meet the overtaking and passing provisions of section 4511.29 of the Revised Code, considering the speed of the slower vehicle.
thanks for the info - didn't know this. I prefer them to pass as long as they can do it safely. Glad to hear its legal (here) as well. I actually worry for drivers when they pass and the double yellows are there for line of sight problems.
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Old 10-03-08, 10:58 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noisebeam View Post
From some reason about 6mo. ago several low volume quiet 25mph posted residential streets had a double yellow added to them (before there were no markings at all) - resulting in narrow lane each way.
The change in motorist passing behavior was very noticeable. Before I could ride in the right tire track 23-25mph and cars just passed smoothly.
Now I sometime find someone who acts as they are stuck behind me - even though there are long sightlines and no issue to pass except the double yellow.
I am still puzzled why the double was added. They were simply not the type of streets that anyone passes another vehicle on except bicycles.

Al

I like the no markings at all people pass so much wider when there is no center line. Secondly on some roads I can ride on the wrong side to pass PEDs since there is no indication of side I need to be on. This is not a common road design.
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Old 10-03-08, 11:48 AM   #15
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I had a similar incident happen a couple days ago. A Post Office vehicle taking a third of the lane while delivering mail, so I checked over-the-shoulder and saw a car 25 yards back - no problem - plenty of reaction time for the motorist in a 40mph zone (my speed ~25MPH since it's a slight downhill). I then began to move out and take the remainder of the lane.

Well, wouldn't you know it? This lady still passes me while going outside the double yellows with traffic oncoming around a corner. Mind you, I'm 3 feet off the mail truck and 3 feet inside the double yellows. Horns are whaling away, cars swerving! I immediately took the evasive and got to the shoulder as quick as possible. She was half way into oncoming traffic with no sight lines since this occurred just around a corner!! Lives could have been shattered for such stupidity.

Here's a Google street view link.
(The mail truck was stopped at the white mailbox)
I was already under way with my maneuver at the street view location noted above.

Of course, had a crash occurred I would have been blamed for the whole mess. Heck, they probably still blame me. Only cyclists such as ourselves seem to know we have the same legal rights and responsibilities as motorists. On a bicycle I had the room to maneuver around the mail truck in a safe manner. Heck, I don't take up 7 feet of lane space and did not have to cross the double line to pass safely while also leaving plenty of room for the mail truck. The driver should have waited behind the mail truck since she occupies 6-7 feet of the lane.

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe I performed a safe passing maneuver. This is the closest I've been to a life/death situation in my 3 years of bike commuting.
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Old 10-03-08, 12:46 PM   #16
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Well my incident with the gentleman happened like this yesterday:

I was on a road in rural Virginia, smooth and up the hill and a truck passed me with a good space. Behind him was a red mustang and he passed me with the mirror inches from my handlebar.

I yelled "Hey" to get his attention and he stopped in the middle of the road and explain to me with quite few chosen words that he is not allowed to cross the double line, that he is a fireman and he has to pickup dead people who crossed the double line. Apparently, when you cross the double line, even there was no car in sight, you will get killed by lightning. Whatever, I told him he should give me more space and that I am sure he passes mail truck over the double line too.

Since I was in front of him now, he had to go by me one more time and this time he made sure he is even closer than before - actually to avoid his mirror I had to go to the shoulder and eventually to the ditch. I feel lucky, I didn't go down clipped in my pedals, but I still don't know how I was able to balance it out and get back on the road.

This gentleman while leaving called me donkeyhollow or something in that sense and left.
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Old 10-03-08, 04:52 PM   #17
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If he does not want to pass you by crossing the double yellow line, that is his choice; but his other legal choice is to wait behind you until the double yellow line ends.

His claim of being a fireman is disturbing. I would follow up on that and if true report what happened to the fire department. Did you get a plate #?
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Old 10-03-08, 05:03 PM   #18
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That's terrible, and makes me glad I live in Maine.
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Old 10-03-08, 05:26 PM   #19
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In Vermont yellow lines are only a suggestion. Unless there is a sign that says "no passing" or "do not pass", you can pass anywhere as long as conditions permit.
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Old 10-03-08, 05:38 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noisebeam View Post
From some reason about 6mo. ago several low volume quiet 25mph posted residential streets had a double yellow added to them (before there were no markings at all) - resulting in narrow lane each way.
The change in motorist passing behavior was very noticeable. Before I could ride in the right tire track 23-25mph and cars just passed smoothly.
Now I sometime find someone who acts as they are stuck behind me - even though there are long sightlines and no issue to pass except the double yellow.
I am still puzzled why the double was added. They were simply not the type of streets that anyone passes another vehicle on except bicycles.

Al
Portland usually removes the double yellow line on any street that has one if it is a designated bike boulevard
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Old 10-03-08, 05:41 PM   #21
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Well my incident with the gentleman happened like this yesterday:

I was on a road in rural Virginia, smooth and up the hill and a truck passed me with a good space. Behind him was a red mustang and he passed me with the mirror inches from my handlebar.

I yelled "Hey" to get his attention and he stopped in the middle of the road and explain to me with quite few chosen words that he is not allowed to cross the double line, that he is a fireman and he has to pickup dead people who crossed the double line. Apparently, when you cross the double line, even there was no car in sight, you will get killed by lightning. Whatever, I told him he should give me more space and that I am sure he passes mail truck over the double line too.

Since I was in front of him now, he had to go by me one more time and this time he made sure he is even closer than before - actually to avoid his mirror I had to go to the shoulder and eventually to the ditch. I feel lucky, I didn't go down clipped in my pedals, but I still don't know how I was able to balance it out and get back on the road.

This gentleman while leaving called me donkeyhollow or something in that sense and left.
I'd be calling him something other than 'gentleman'. I don't suppose you were lucky enough to remember his plate #?
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Old 10-03-08, 06:59 PM   #22
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Me and my friend were walking up a big hill on the shoulder (4 feet) and cars were pulling into the opposite shoulder to give us room! It was ridiculous.
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Old 10-03-08, 07:20 PM   #23
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He had vanity plate, there was no problem remembering it. I am not going to follow up on it, it is against my nature to tell on people - maybe my upbringing in east block show here?
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Old 10-03-08, 07:26 PM   #24
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I've looked into it, and the meaning of a double line varies tremendously from state to state. There are at least four different treatments in the US.

In some states, the yellow line is merely an advisory that it might be unsafe to pass. Unsafe passing is illegal but passing on the double yellow is not per se.

In some states, all passing is prohibited with a double yellow.

In some states, crossing the double yellow is prohibited, but passing is not. You can pass another vehicle if you can do it without crossing the line or violating other passing laws.

In some states, it is illegal to pass a motor vehicle on the double yellow, but not a non-motorized vehicle.

The Ohio treatment is new to me.

Virginia is in the third category, you're not allowed to cross the double yellow, see Virginia Code 46.2-804. Virginia also has a 2-foot passing distance law for bicycles.
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Old 10-03-08, 08:46 PM   #25
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...
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe I performed a safe passing maneuver. This is the closest I've been to a life/death situation in my 3 years of bike commuting.
In this case, I think you could have helped indicate conditions to the passing motorist by extending your left arm at a downward angle to show that it was time to back off.
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